(You can’t get anything done)
Christmas. Intrusive. Imposed. In yer face. It is one of THOSE times.
I always remember my good friend Sophie (who will always be Sophie B/C to me, for reasons I’ll not explain) complaining about it: ‘bloody Christmas, you can never get anything done’ – or words to that effect. And she’s right.
For many it’s blighted – whichever side of the fence you’re on – by the way it’s become an ever-expanding few weeks of sales and marketing. But I’m a realist; I know for some that’s out of necessity, not choice. And I heard recently that there were protests about the corruption of Christmas way before the first millennium was out, let alone recent times.
Anyway. Regardless of its history, it is hard to ignore or avoid Christmas, whatever the importance and meanings you attach to it, for whatever reasons. Today was one of those days, when it tipped over into being intrusive enough to make me think about how it figures in my life.
That Time Of Year
Since my crash I’ve tried to keep Christmas low key, aiming to see just close friends and my partner. All but one year we’ve managed to get down to the coast for the day. Rain or shine. It’s not too long a drive.
All of that’s enjoyable. I’m not striving to meet any inherited expectations.
Looking further back, I think the main emotion Christmas evokes is what I’d call an active neutrality. Merely neutral. At best neutral. I’m not sure which.
As I write I’m remembering that even before the crash there were years I spent Christmas away with friends. Back in the day, I’ve even been at work through choice – an advantage to 24/7 shift work. Out of choice I stayed in cold digs at least one year while I was a student, I suspect more. I remember one time with certainty because of the ice on the inside of the windows.
I wasn’t keen on getting away because I disliked my extended family. It’s just the whole what-passes-as-traditional ‘family thing’ wasn’t – and isn’t – me.
There’s nothing exceptional or surprising in all this. I’ve always wanted to get away to some extent, to be apart.
I don’t know where that’s all rooted. I’m pretty sure it’s a desire set in place if not in childhood then in teenage years. But while there’s a part of me that’s always wanted to get away, conversely I’m not a loner. Some say I’m naturally inclusive. I’m very happy to chat.
I don’t know how to reconcile that seeming contradiction, if that’s what it is. And perhaps, anyway, it’s not. Perhaps it’s all to do with making the whole work: the right people in the right place at the right time.
Perhaps the real point of interest lies in why, seemingly, so many people are unable to address making that whole work for them. Perhaps they don’t even recognize going their own path as an option.
At Christmas or at any other time, if you’re not on the path that’s right for you, that’s a tragedy pending. You can never recover time that’s spent.
And if that seems to you trite, or merely a truism, so be it. The only important aspect is whether you’re acting to avoid tragedies.
In a free society, quite possibly a genuinely positive approach to Christmas would be to strongly – and solely – wrap it in its religious significance. That would give Christmas what you could fairly call its proper focus.
The date would be free of its arguably irrelevant baggage, and people would be free to decide how they want to mark it or not, as suits them and their beliefs.